The #Saints and #Panthers have made offers for #Texans QB Deshaun Watson and are likely to meet with him soon, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. Other teams also are involved. Watson has a no-trade clause and wants to meet with teams before formally waiving it anywhere.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2022
Here we go. The New Orleans Saints have submitted a trade offer for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero report, as have the Carolina Panthers. Other teams are also in pursuit of Watson, who was cleared of criminal charges stemming from allegations of sexual misconduct by 22 women in the Houston area on Friday. Pelissero adds that the trade package to acquire Watson is substantial, including three future first round draft picks.
Watson may have been cleared of criminal behavior, but that’s the case for the vast majority of sexual assault cases in America. It doesn’t mean he didn’t do anything wrong. And he clearly feels he is innocent of wrongdoing. That’s not the behavior of someone who is repentant or looking to avoid these situations in the future.
Let’s be real: there’s a cost to the Saints acquiring Watson beyond the trade package Houston might receive. Bringing him in would be a slap to the face of every sexual assault survivor and those around them in the fanbase. And the Saints know that. They’re betting that they can take the public relations hit, win a lot of football games, and gloss over all of this. When purely evaluating what Watson has done on the field, he’s a top-five quarterback in the prime of his career.
The Saints are obviously willing to pay the price for that. Watson does have a no-trade clause which he will exercise in meeting with teams prior to any trade can be agreed upon. If he isn’t interested in going to New Orleans, he won’t go there. But if the Saints are willing to get this deep in the process then they must be prepared to do whatever it takes to make him happy. Stay tuned.